After months of deliberation, Connect Transit has approved a new bus route restructure. The original plan discontinued Teal J service on G.E. Road, as well as the late night Green A route. But, General Manager Andrew Johnson says they decided against that after the public voiced opposition to those proposals. Johnson says they looked at data and realized the routes had more ridership than they thought.
"While it wasn't necessarily enough ridership to justify keeping it the same as always, it was enough to make us pull back and say, okay, we need to study this more and figure the best way to handle the needs of the people that do use it in those areas," he says.
Some residents believe the new routes don't benefit elderly and disabled residents, but Johnson says Connect Transit is doing everything it can.
"We have to work with the city, the town, and with the local groups that are concerned about this and collaboratively come up with a solution to those problems," he says.
The new routes, including changes to the Purple C, Lime I, and a Heartland Express bus, begin August 12. Johnson says they will continue to look at the city's transit system and determine what changes need to be made in the future. He says they will also conduct a survey to address transit points and the condition of bus stops.
Meanwhile, Johnson also says they are looking into alternative fuel options like compressed natural gas because Illinois might eventually eliminate diesel use. But, he says it will be a complicated process.
"That's the problem with jumping on with alternative fuel," he says. "You have to make sure it's something that's going to be sustainable, and the state of the art is advancing very quickly. If it's not going to be CNG, it'll be something else, and we'll find what's going to work best with our particular application."
Compressed natural gas is the front runner for now, but Johnson says it might turn out to be too expensive.
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